by • January 12, 2016 • No Comments
João-Pierre S. Ruth
January 13th, 2016 @jpruth@xconomySimilar to Us
Xconomy New York —
Similar to a proud parent taking a child to their initial day of school, Conor MacCormack, CEO of Mcor Technologies, last week at CES showed off his company’s latest entry in the 3D printing market: a full-color computer model.
MacCormack revealed a few of the inner workings of the Mcor ARKe to me at the yearly technology trade show in Las Vegas. Despite being a computer 3D printer, the ARKe is pretty darn husky at approximately three feet wide. Still, it is a new product line for Mcor, which had until this point just simply created industrial-size 3D printing devices which each weigh additional than 300 pounds.
With the ARKe, the company took a few cues of 2D printing, MacCormack said. “We always wanted to create a computer equivalent of our printer,” he said. “The whole vision of our company was to create a printer which may go in each office, and each classroom, and some day into people’s homes.”
Mcor is headquartered in Dunleer, Ireland and late last May accomplished its U.S. headquarters in Taunton, MA. The company in addition has offices in San Jose, CA.
Mcor has a exception approach to 3D printing, using paper as the material its machines build with rather than the plastic filaments and composites typically utilized by other 3D printing devices. Chasing the dream of widespread adoption of 3D printing devices has meant coping with a few barriers to entry, MacCormack said. Industrial-caliber printing devices are price prohibitive; the Mcor Iris, for instance, costs $50,000. After raising funding, Mcor went to work on developing its computer version, he said, to pursue additional potential customers. “It’s completely new architecture.”
Full-color printing is not new for Mcor, but putting it all into a smaller in size 3D printer is a fresh step for the company. Part of what creates the ARKe exception of its bigger brethren is it has a 2D printer integrated within to help produce the look of its creations. “With the last machine, we had an Epson machine which preprinted the sheets,” MacCormack said.
The printer heads within the Mcor ARKe are comparable to 2D printing devices. (photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth)
The new design allows for for highly accurate images, he said. Further, MacCormack said the ARKe’s print heads are comparable to inkjet printing devices, with cartridges which can be swapped out easily. Instead of standard sheets of paper, which Mcor’s other printing devices use, rolls of paper feed the ARKe, he said, to improve reliability. “With sheets of paper, you have to try and pick up each individual sheet,” he said.
By introducing the ARKe, Mcor is aiming at a rather tough niche where computer 3D printing devices of the likes of Formlabs, based in Somerville, MA, and MakerBot Industries in Brooklyn are yet attempting to win mainstream appeal. They, and other 3D printing competitors, were in addition on the show floor at CES.
Formlabs added its Tough Resin material last June, which lets users 3D-print load bearing objects, within certain limits. Last fall, Formlabs in addition added its Form 2 printer which offers bigger build sizes.
Rival 3D printing companies, such as Formlabs and its Form 2 computer printer, were out in force at CES. (photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth)
MakerBot, meanwhile, has been attempting to get its mojo back. Last year, it closed all its retail stores, and it has been cutting down its staff. The company did yet create its way back to CES, which include being part of a promotion for the SyFy cable network’s new seriesThe Expanse.
SyFy tapped MakerBot’s 3D printing devices to help promote “The Expanse.” (photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth).
Desktop 3D printing has not been a slam dunk for anyone yet. Mcor is not precisely attempting to jump of customers who are primarily hobbyists to the general public as a few other companies have attempted. The ARKe costs just simply under $9,000—which puts it a bit out of range for the typical consumer. MacCormack said education and corporate customers create up his initial target clientele for the new printer. “We have may already taken in 2,500 unit preorders in the last six weeks,” he said, which were handled confidentially through dealers. That translates into $22 million in revenue, MacCormack said. “This is a transformative moment for Mcor.”
Mcor’s 3D printing devices use paper to produce color and imagery not seen of most 3D printing devices which use resin and composite materials. (photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth)
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